It did not the long last year to establish that the impact of Covid-19 was not just felt in terms of death and serious illness, but the ongoing impact on many patients of ‘Long Covid’.
By the end of last year, evidence was starting to be compiled to show that erectile dysfunction was one of these symptoms.
That this should be so was logical; the effect of the disease in causing inflammation of vessels, blood clots and ‘sticky blood’ had already been established, with these being exactly the kind of thing that restricts blood flow to important vessels and thus prevents penile tissue from being engorged with blood.
A key question is just how common the problem is. Will large numbers of people be looking to buy cheap Sildenafil as a consequence of suffering Long Covid? Or is it a problem endured by only a few?
The University of Rome may have helped quantify the level of risk. The Daily Mail reports that its study of men with Covid symptoms, 28 per cent had suffered erectile dysfunction. The average age of this group was 33. By contrast, in a control group of 100 men only nine had erectile dysfunction issues.
As well as confirming the inflammatory response that constricts blood flow as one of the causes, the study also found a possible cause of erectile dysfunction was the ACE2 Receptor cells that the SARS-COV2 virus uses to enter the body.
Dr. Channa Jayasena, consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology at Hammersmith and St. Mary’s hospitals in London, explained that the virus does this “by its spike protein binding to a receptor found at quite high concentrations not only in the lungs but also in the reproductive organs.”
He added: “When COVID-19 binds to these receptors, they can no longer perform in their normal function.”
With the virus capable of causing erectile dysfunction both directly and indirectly, it may be small wonder the rate of erectile dysfunction is so high in sufferers.
Indeed, a new analysis of the erectile dysfunction drugs market by Data Bridge Market Research has listed Covid-19 as a factor in increasing the growth of demand over the 2020-26 period, which is predicted to be “relatively significant”. Not that Covid is the only factor at play: The press release notes “hypertension, neurogenic and psychological disorders” are also common causal factors.
Psychological disorders may be another indirect effect of Covid, of course, with depression and anxiety among the problems being suffered by many people. These may, however, ease as the situation improves.
The potential impact of Long Covid on erectile dysfunction may prompt many men to take the risk of the virus more seriously, either in terms of social distancing or vaccinations, not least because of the relatively young age of sufferers identified in the Rome survey. For those who have suffered Long Covid, it remains to be seen how long the health impact will last, but at least help will be on hand to treat one particularly distressing symptom of it